With Australia celebrating ANZAC Day what better pick could there be than Maximus in the eighth race.
The equine Maximus has been on a rampage plundering races at Moonee Valley and Cranbourne at his past two starts. The son of Artie Schiller annihilated his opposition by five lengths over 1300m at Cranbourne last start on April 13. He carried 60.5kg to win as a white-hot $1.75 favourite and gets a massive 4.5kg weight drop down to 56kg today in the Benchmark 84 handicap. James Winks retains the mount for training duo Peter and Paul Snowden and he is well drawn in barrier six.
The feature race of the day is the time-honoured VRC St Leger over 2800m.The St Leger has attracted a capacity field of 17 runners vying for the $200,000 in prizemoney.
The other feature on the day is the ANZAC Stakes (1400m) for two-year-olds. Unfortunately showers are forecast so the current track rating of a Good 4 (Monday) may be downgraded. The false rail will be at the 10-metre position.
QUADDIES (races 6,7,8,9)
Skinny Play: 1,4 – 2,11 – 2,3 – 1,2
Wide Play: 1,3,4,7 – 2,11,13,15 – 1,2,3,7 – 1,2,6
BEST BET: R8 – 7. Maximus
Next Best Bet: R5 – 2. Think Bleue
Best Roughie: R7 – 9. Dancing Tycoon
No6 Sherlock Holmes is a talented Irish import who looks to hold a strong hand in this race following his win over 2400m and second (2400m) at his past two starts at Sandown. He carried 60.5kg last time to run second on April 11 as a $2.80 favourite. Today he gets Fred Kersley’s 2kg claim to reduce his handicap to a mere 52kg.
No4 Sin To Win has the blinkers coming off for the first time and the winkers going on for the first time. Has been placed twice at four starts this track and gave a solid effort when running sixth over 2400m at Bendigo on April 7. Again has no weight on 54kg but gets a new rider in Regan Bayliss.
No2 Gallic Chieftain has been a model of consistency and will again be a force on his last start third over 2400m at Bendigo on April 7. The French import gets a change of rider with boom jockey Damian Lane to partner. He will carry the same weight on 58kg as last time.
No1 Berisha won the Yarra Valley Cup three starts ago. He has been in the first four at four of his past five starts. Was beaten in a close finish over 2000m at Caulfield on April 14 and Jamie Mott keeps the ride. He does get some weight relief down 1.5kg to 58kg today. Makes appeal here.
VALUE RUNNER: No4 Sin To Win
No7 Tatoosh has been in absolute blistering form at home in Adelaide where he has notched four straight wins to be unbeaten this campaign. Apprentice Fred Kersley replaces leading Adelaide rider Jamie Kah. Kersley’s 2kg claim reduces his weight to a mere 52kg. Looks to command strong respect.
No4 Life Less Ordinary drops out of elitist company back to a normal grade. Last start ran a good second in the Group 3 Easter Cup (2000m) at Caulfield on March 31. He was plunged from $6.50 to $4.20 that day. He does rise 4kg to 58kg for the drop in class but he gets ace rider Dwayne Dunn as his new partner.
No2 Mask Of Time Was looming late before finishing 11th over 1600m in the Golden Mile at Bendigo on April 7. The extra distance will suit the Irish-bred import and he has a superior draw in gate one. Gets a change of rider with Ben Melham taking over the reins.
No5 Jacquinot Bay is a veteran stayer who has the speed to put himself into the firing line. He sped out like a bullet to lead last time before finishing 11th in the Group 2 Easter Cup (2000m) at Caulfield on March 31. He rises 3.5kg to 57.5kg but gets the bonus of Craig Williams to partner.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 Mask Of Time
No1 Ocean Knight steps up into stakes class but has an impeccable record after scoring an emphatic 2.75 length win over 1200m at his debut on April 14. He gets Regan Bayliss to ride again, but he does rise 2kg to 59kg for the win. Has drawn perfectly in gate two to be prominent.
No5 Expedius hails from a top stable and will have taken plenty of benefit from his last start win when he had to dig very deep to win a 1209m maiden at Echuca on April 8. The stable has kept on apprentice Zac Spain despite him having no claim to use and he will carry his listed weight on 56.5kg.
No4 Wild Planet was finishing like a steam strain when a close fifth over 1400m at Sandown on April 14. Team Hawkes have put the blinkers on the son of Animal Kingdom for his stakes debut and he will be partnered by ace Melbourne rider Dwayne Dunn. He drops 2kg to 57kg today.
No3 Hawkshot was forced to nail down to a narrow but strong debut win over 1200m maiden at Ballarat in March. Was returning to the track when plunged into a $1.75 favourite but ran second to the outsider Secret Blaze over 1400m at Sandown on April 14. Can reap revenge today at stakes level.
VALUE RUNNER: No4 Wild Planet
No2 Sebring Dream underlined she was in search of the ground when running home strongly to finish fifth in the Bendigo Bracelet (1400m) at Bendigo on April 7. With in form apprentice Fred Kersley to ride she gets his 2kg allowance to reduce her impost to a more comfortable 57.5kg.
No1 Soho Ruby showed plenty of true grit to pip Top Of The Range over 1600m here on March 17. She was easy in the market that day at $6.50, but was backed at her prior start here when a good third over in a Group 3 over 1400m here on March 3. She goes up a kilo to 60kg but Ben Melham rides again.
No14 Winkelmann gets a huge weight drop of 4.5kg to the limit on 54kg after her brilliant win against her own sex over 1500m at Sandown on April 2. She was specked from $9.50 into $9 before claiming a half-length win. Her recent form has been first class and will again be thereabouts.
No4 Smart As You Think was never on the track when finishing last of nine in the listed Randwick City (2000m) at Randwick on March 10. Melbourne rider Jamie Mott replaces Sydney hoop Corey Brown and prior form at Sandown and Morphettville was commendable. Can go well here.
VALUE RUNNER: No14 Winklemann
No2 Think Bleue (NEXT BEST BET) was strongly backed from $6.50 into $4.20 and landed the plunge with a fighting win in the Group 3 Alexandra (1600m) at Moonee Valley on March 23. Resumes from a four-week break today and she gets top jockey Damian Lane to again partner. She carries the same weight on 55kg and when Darren Weir has them fit they hold their form. Big showing here.
No3 Palazzo Vecchio has been placed at two of four starts this campaign and looms as a danger.
No6 Nothin’ Leica High finished like a train to win first up over 1600m at Pakenham. Must respect.
No12 Arkamun scored a surprise win over 2000m in a maiden at Pakenham on April 2. Lightly raced and can go on here.
VALUE RUNNER: No12 Arkamun
No2 Astoria gets a big drop in class on last start 17th to Levendi in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 7. He deserved his berth in the Derby on his prior form at the top level in Sydney and Melbourne. Gets top Melbourne rider Craig Williams to ride today.
No10 High Energy is an emerging three-year-old with a win and two placings at six starts. Was warmed up for this with a fast finishing fourth to Won Won Too over Listed race over 2400m at Caulfield on April 14. He won his maiden over 2000m at Warnambool four starts ago and makes appeal here.
No1 Won Won Too was the winner of the listed Galilee Final (2400m) at Caulfield on April 14. He carried 56kg that day and goes up a kilo today under the setweight and penalty conditions of the St Leger. Jordan Childs keeps the mount but he has drawn very wide this time in gate 15.
No5 Wolfe Tone has the visors coming off and the blinkers going on for the first time. Last start he ran a solid seventh to Won Won Too in the Galilee Final (2400m) at Caulfield on April 7. He has the same jockey, weight and barrier as last time and looks an each-way chance here.
VALUE RUNNER: No10 High Energy
No12 Mr Storm has been in red-hot form notching two impressive wins to remain undefeated at two starts this campaign. He heaps of room for improvement as only has raced three times. Was a .4 length winner over 1400m at Ballarat on April 8 at last win. Drops 4.5kg to the limit on 54kg in this race. The three-year-old gets Damien Oliver to again partner and can easily handle the rise in class today.
No2 Masculino boasts an impeccable fresh record of two starts for two wins. Resumes from a 29-week spell here. Also was gelded during his spell and gets the astute jockey Noel Callow to ride for the hot stable of Mick Price. The gate in 15 is a setback though.
No4 Iconoclasm has won at two of his past four attempts and was not too far behind at his other two starts. Was charging home out wide to run a strong fourth over 1200m at Caulfield on April 14. That was only his fourth start and had won at Morphettville and Ararat at his previous two runs.
No9 Dancing Tycoon (BEST ROUGHIE) is a three-year-old filly racing in strong form with a last start win over 1400m at Sandown. She had to endure a titanic struggle to gain the upper hand in the last strides for a narrow win over 1400m at Sandown on April 2. This is a most competitive race, but would note.
VALUE RUNNER: No9 Dancing Tycoon
No7 Maximus (BEST BET) has been winning impressively and can keep the ball rolling high today to claim a third straight win. Gave nothing else a chance, when he blazed to a 5 length win over 1300m at Cranbourne on April 13. The four-year-old stallion drops a massive 4.5kg to 56kg today and James Winks keeps the ride. He was plunged into a $1.75 favourite last start, but is at more lucrative odds here.
No9 Brahmos was chasing a hat-trick but was brought undone by long-shot King River at Caulfield last start.
No1 Milwaukee was a smart winner over 2000m at his last start at this track in March. Respect.
No5 El Sicario was badly held up before finishing a close fourth over 1200m at Morphettville on April 14. Chance.
VALUE RUNNER: No5 El Sicario